A Cappella

“She what?”

I assumed Angela’s question was rhetorical, so I didn’t answer. I also didn’t want to prolong the conversation. Really, I just wanted to get to Firestone. I wouldn’t have to talk about Bella there. The great thing about libraries was that you weren’t supposed to talk at all.

“I’m sorry, Edward. Really.”

I decided to change the subject. “Did Mike send you a picture of his cock from my phone last night?”

“That was him?” Angela laughed.

“It sure as hell wasn’t me!”

“Oh, I know. At least, that’s what his follow-up message said. That the text was sent without your consent and all genitalia involved consented to be photographed.”


“Nice. I told him I’d check my outbox, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.”

“Will you still be going home on weekends?”

I hadn’t thought of that. My dad often worked Saturdays; there didn’t seem to be much of a point.


From: Edward Cullen
Subject: Re: E-A-G-L-E-S!
Date: December 1, 2009 6:45 PM EST
To: Emmett McCarty

How is she?

From: Emmett McCarty
Subject: Re: E-A-G-L-E-S!
Date: December 1, 2009 6:51 PM EST
To: Edward Cullen

I haven’t seen her, and I told Rose I didn’t want to hear about it. I’m more interested in how you’re doing.

From: Edward Cullen
Subject: Re: E-A-G-L-E-S!
Date: December 1, 2009 6:54 PM EST
To: Emmett McCarty

I miss her.

From: Emmett McCarty
Subject: Re: E-A-G-L-E-S!
Date: December 1, 2009 6:57 PM EST
To: Edward Cullen

I know.

“So many hot girls who had boyfriends before break came back to campus single. Thanksgiving for the win!”

I wasn’t sure who I hated more—Mike for being a callous bastard or Bella for making me a cliché. Except I couldn’t hate Bella because I loved Bella. I looked at the beer on my desk. Bella would not approve of me drinking or smoking this much. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed Bella didn’t approve of my participation in any adult activities that didn’t end with ejaculation.

I chugged the beer.

“We’re having a party later,” Mike informed me.

“It’s Monday.”


A week ago, I would have fought him on this. Thursday and Saturday were already big party nights at the Street. There was Hard Drug Tuesday, and Wednesdays were Weednesdays. I would have wanted one night a week where things were quiet. But now, quiet was the last thing I wanted.

“When are people coming?” I asked.

“In an hour or so.”

It was more than enough time for me to get drunk.

Over the next few days, I found myself actually feeling somewhat grateful for Mike. There was a flip side to the fact he was an enormous asshole. His complete disregard for the feelings of others made it easier for me to disregard mine. Unlike Emmett, Angela and my parents, Mike didn’t try to get me to talk about things. Unless it involved getting drugs or getting himself laid, he just didn’t care. In the absence of complaints from me, Tyler no longer felt compelled to even attempt to control Mike.

Friday afternoon, I did as I was told and went to the counseling appointment my parents made for me. The counselor’s office was pretty much like my mother’s office, except with cheaper furniture.

“So, Edward, why are you here?”

“My parents think I need to talk to someone.”

“Do you think you need to talk to someone?”

“I don’t want to talk anyone. Not about what my parents think needs to be discussed.”

“What exactly would that be?”

“My girlfriend.”

Except she wasn’t. Not anymore. I didn’t want to say it out loud. Saying it made it real, and it couldn’t be real. This couldn’t really have happened.

But it did. My mom was right. The problem with letting one person make up your entire universe was that when the person left you, it felt like your world came to an end. Or maybe not. Apocalypses were easy; solitude was hard. I used to be good at being alone. I also didn’t know what I was missing.

“My ex-girlfriend,” I corrected.

Hearing it pushed me over the edge. My voice broke, and I couldn’t stop my tears. God, I was pathetic.

“What happened?” His tone of voice was identical to my mother’s when she was trying to sound detached.

“That’s the thing. I don’t even know.”

I said nothing more, and he didn’t ask me. I spent the duration of my appointment crying in his office.

Early that evening, hoping the cold air would help, I walked with Angela to the Wa.

“What’s with the facial hair?”


My hand found my chin. Sure enough, there was the beginning of a beard there. I tried to remember the last time I shaved.



I immediately tried to forget the last time I shaved.

“Are you growing a beard?” she asked.

“No. I’m just not actively preventing one. Why?”

“It’s kind of funny how it’s a different color than the hair on your head.”

“It is?”

She laughed. “Yes. Your facial hair is practically fire-engine red.”


“You really hadn’t noticed?”

I shook my head.

“I know you’re still in shock, and I know Bella ended things in the worst way possible, but you have to snap out of it. It’s been a week; when you’re not drunk or stoned, you’re borderline catatonic.”

“My parents made me see a counselor this afternoon.”

“Oh? How did it go?”

“It made me want to go smoke. I doubt that was the desired effect.”

She sighed, and we walked the rest of the way back to Blair in silence.

“Thanks for the company,” she said when we reached my door.

“Ben coming this weekend?”

“No, he’s swamped getting ready for finals.”


I wondered what made them different—what made some relationships work while others self-destruct. Then it came to me. Ben and Angela actually loved each other; Bella had never loved me.

“Maybe I’ll come by later,” she said.

“I’ll be here.”

She disappeared down the hall, and I went inside my room. I stopped and looked my reflection in the mirror above my dresser. My eyes were bloodshot and it was obvious I hadn’t been sleeping, but neither of those things were revelations. I ran my fingers along my jaw and realized Angela was right. Even more interesting, was that I could see the line in my sideburns where the auburn stopped and the red began. I wondered how I hadn’t noticed this when I combed through my hair after I showered each morning; then I realized I hadn’t showered since I came back to campus.

Deciding to deal with that later, I sank into my desk chair and checked my email. There was nothing from Bella, and I felt crushed all over again.

From: Edward Cullen
Subject: Re: Checking in on you
Date: December 4, 2009 7:02 PM EST
To: J. Carlisle Cullen IV

How long did it take you to get over the girl you were engaged to before Mom?

From: Edward Cullen
Subject: Re: E-A-G-L-E-S!
Date: December 4, 2009 7:05 PM EST
To: Emmett McCarty

Just tell me if she’s okay.

I hated the thought of her hurting.

I went downstairs and showered, but I kept the facial hair. When I came back to my room, Tyler and Mike were smoking in the common area with Peter and some girls I didn’t know. I went into the bedroom to get dressed. I cracked open a beer and sat at my desk. Maybe I’d join them if Angela came over.

Once again, my heart pounded when I saw I had email. My cheeks burned with stupidity when I saw it was from my dad.

From: J. Carlisle Cullen IV
Subject: Re: Checking in on you
Date: December 4, 2009 7:35 PM EST
To: Edward Cullen

I wallowed for a few weeks and was drunk for a few months. Then I met your mother and I never looked back.

From: Edward Cullen
Subject: Re: Checking in on you
Date: December 4, 2009 7:42 PM EST
To: J. Carlisle Cullen IV

I just miss her so much. Every time I look at my phone and there’s no call or I check my email and there’s nothing from her, I feel like I lose her all over again. I can’t even think of anyone else.

From: J. Carlisle Cullen IV
Subject: Re: Checking in on you
Date: December 4, 2009 7:55 PM EST
To: Edward Cullen

Why would you ever want to be with someone who didn’t want to be with you?

From: Edward Cullen
Subject: Re: Checking in on you
Date: December 4, 2009 7:57 PM EST
To: J. Carlisle Cullen IV

Here I was thinking you wouldn’t get parental with me. Thanks for nothing.

From: J. Carlisle Cullen IV
Subject: Re: Checking in on you
Date: December 4, 2009 8:01 PM EST
To: Edward Cullen

I was speaking as your friend. As your father, I’d tell you Bella was cold, self-centered and manipulative. Therefore, she doesn’t deserve you. But eventually, you’ll find someone who does. It’s okay to be upset. It doesn’t make you weak, it just means your feelings are real. Allow yourself to have them; then let them go.

From: Emmett McCarty
Subject: E-A-G-L-E-S!
Date: December 4, 2009 8:03 PM EST
To: Edward Cullen

I’ll ask Rose if you really want to know, but I don’t see how that would help.

I closed my laptop and counted empty beer cans. There were eight of them. I went out into the common area to see if anyone was still smoking, and the room was packed. Angela was on the futon between Mike and Peter. I was about to go rescue her when Lauren jumped in front of me.

“That was some pic you sent everyone.”

“It wasn’t me. Didn’t Mike send a second message clarifying this?”

“He did, but anyone could have sent it.”

“Anyone could have sent the first one.”

“Well, anyone with a small dick and very hairy balls.”

“You seemed to spend enough time looking at it. Mike’s right over there. I’m sure he’d be happy to whip it out for you.”

“Mike doesn’t have what I want.” She gave me a look that was meant to be sexy; it wasn’t.

“What do you want, Lauren?”

Lauren bit her lip and looked at my crotch.

Bella would bite her lip. She did it when she was emotionally uncomfortable, as well as when she was coming. It was cute and natural, and I doubted she was even aware she did it. Lauren’s lip bite was more contrived than surgically reconstructed virginity.

“I want to know if the picture was real. Do you want to go somewhere and show me?”

Right. Bella may have left me, but I wasn’t that desperate.

“Oh, the picture was real. Do you really want to see?”

She nodded and tried to push past me into my bedroom. I stopped her, shaking my head. Before she had a chance to say anything, I walked to the center of the room.

“Can I have everyone’s attention?” I opened my pants and took out my cock. “This is what my dick looks like. As you can see, it’s way too big to be accurately rendered on most cell phone screens, unless you have an iPhone and you zoom way out. I think it’s also fairly obvious the text that went out Sunday wasn’t me.”

I put my penis away, closed my pants and went back into my bedroom. I opened my laptop and checked my email; there were no new messages. Even if there had been, they wouldn’t be from Bella. Intellectually, I knew this, but I was completely unable to control my irrational hope that eventually, one of them would be.

I wondered how long it took for hope to die.


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  1. on 01 Sep 2010 at 3:02 pmizziey

    i completely forgot about the peen exposure!